Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Windy Point
South of Botany Bay in Sydney, there are only a few shore dives, certainly not as many as in the eastern suburbs. The more popular ones in the Cronulla area are Oak Park and Shiprock. A few hundred metres north of Oak Park is another nice dive, Windy Point.
I have no idea where the name Windy Point comes from, perhaps because to dive here you need calm seas, normally present when there are strong westerly winds. Head past Cronulla as if going to Oak Park. Drive down Ewos Parade past Shelly Park and turn left into Rostrevor Street. Park near the end and walk down the small access path to the waterfront.
|An aerial photo of the Windy Point to Oak Park area on a very clear and very calm day|
Entry point is the point at top, exit is out of photo bottom left
Photo taken January 2010
This is an alternative to the normal Windy Point dive. The entry site is seen as soon as you reach the concrete walkway. There is a path down on to the rock platform straight ahead of you. Go to the right once you reach the rocks and zigzag to the bottom of the platform. There are a couple of good entry and exit points, depending on the tides. Try either of the small inlets or the small point in between. The exit point can be seen to the south past the toilet park and next to the pool. If the seas are a bit suspect, walk down to Oak Park and have a look before you start the dive. See my comments about exit points later in this article.
After gearing up and arriving at the entry point, flop into the water (do not giant stride as the water is not deep enough). To do this dive here you need to head towards the cave at Oak Park (Meditation Cave). To do this, swim west until you strike the first bit of sand (eight metres) and then follow the sand edge to the south (right). After only 20 metres you will see that the sand narrows and continues south. Go over to the reef on the left (east) and follow this to the east. The reef will be on your left. The reef turns back to the south and after a little way you will see that there is another similar sand finger heading south.
This time you keep going south up the "bay". The depth eventually deepens to 11 metres and you will soon cross over some small rocks and boulders. The reef on your left becomes a wall and gets quite prominent. It is a long swim, up to 20 minutes of almost constant swimming. As long as you roughly head south, you will get to the cave area. As mentioned, after a while you will come across a medium size wall on your left. This leads to the cave. The used to be a urinal (from the old Northey's Hotel at Cronulla I believe) just past the small cave but it has now been moved to the main Oak Park wall about 75 metres south-west. There also used to be a large garden gnome (minus head) in the cave.
An alternative to get to this point is to swim on a bearing of 160° from the entry point.
From here continue along the bay which is now like a shallow gully. Once you stike some sand, head to the western side and follow the small wall to the south. It will soon trun to the west and become more prominent. This is the main wall at Oak park.
Keeping it on your right, follow the wall back towards the shore. You will see the urinal here.
You will meet more overhangs along the wall. These frequently contain crayfish, cuttlefish and eastern blue devilfish as well as firefish. After 50 metres you will come across a section of the wall which extends out a bit over the low rock ledge. Here you can go out to the sand or follow the crack which runs in the same direction (west) as the wall. Past here are some very large boulders which make interesting canyons. Keep following the wall until you meet the spot where you started. Return back to your entry point underwater.
|A map of Oak Park|
Click to enlarge
Note this map was drawn in the late 1980s and is not as accurate as I might have liked. The reef curves a bit more to the left than shown and you go more towards north for a lot of the dive
|The walls at Oak Park are covered in sea squirts|
Crimson-banded wrasse, maori wrasse, beardie, yellowtail, herring cale, black-spot goatfish, ladder-finned pomfret, common bullseye, mado, cuttlefish, white ear, sergeant baker, red morwong, orange-lined wrasse, velvet leatherjacket, rough leatherjacket can be seen. Especially prominent are the blue groper, including Aristotle (this groper has a notch out of his back from a spearfisher - he has been at Oak Park since at least 1989 and I have seen in 2006), which are extremely friendly and will follow you around seeking a meal of sea urchins. Under the overhangs you may see eastern blue devilfish, moray eels, knightfish (pineapplefish) and quite often firefish. On the sand you may see angelsharks (beware, they bite), rays and numbfish as well as flathead and blue swimmer crabs.
Normally, I exit the water at Oak Park from the small inlet behind the north-east corner of the pool but at high tide I generally use the right hand (southern) side of the pool as even small swells can roll over the platform, with the potential to knock you off your feet.
For most dives, and especially at low tide, it is better to use the entry/exit point behind the pool. If you exit here, swim about 20 metres to the north-west from the end of the wall.
If you are exiting through the southern side of the pool, take care when getting out as the water is normally very shallow here and there are many rocks on the bottom. You head south-west from the end of the wall.
A nice, easy dive, also good for a night dive.